Pentecost, coming in late May or early June, was likely a very beautiful day, without even a stray cloud in the blue sky. The Festival of Weeks, or Pentecost, was a joyous celebration of the spring harvest. Jewish people from all over Israel and many foreign lands came to Jerusalem. Peter and the rest of the disciples were at the Temple bright and early. The day was probably very still, since Jerusalem summers are not windy. The huge crowd at the Temple by 8 or 9 a.m. expected nothing unusual. But . . . suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting! Then divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Pentecost didn’t end when the wind died down and the flames evaporated into the air. It went on. It affected a man like Paul, striking him to the ground on the Road to Damascus and blinding him for three days and nights. It gave a man like Peter courage, converting him from betrayer to preacher. The Spirit inspired women like Phoebe to move from silence to bold speech for Christ. What might we learn from these three about the power of the Spirit to transform minds and hearts?
Sometimes the Presence of the Spirit is expected only in terms of the extraordinary. However, the Spirit is also manifested in simple daily experiences , for example, forms of service, peace and forgiveness. The Spirit is also manifested in our courage to embrace dying to self!
This dying to self can be so simple as taking time to sit down with people we love and trust to talk things out when life seems not to be going well, offering forgiveness to someone who has hurt us, reaching out with a smile or a word to someone who feels tense and fearful. In all of this we deepen our experience of the gift of the Holy Spirit and peace.